United States Green Building Council

A non profit trade association
that promotes how buildings are designed

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), founded by David Gottfried in 1993, is a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. (Contrary to the title of this article, which was created in error, the organization's name is the U.S. Green Building Council - not United States Green Building Council.) USGBC is best known for the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems and Greenbuild, a green building conference and expo that promotes the green building industry, including environmentally responsible materials, sustainable architecture techniques and public policy.

Because of its name, USGBC is sometimes confused for a government agency or entity, but it is not; it is a private 501(c)(3), membership based non-profit organization. At the end of February 2010, USGBC had more than 18,500 member organizations from every sector of the building industry. USGBC works to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. To achieve this it has developed a variety of programs and services, and works closely with key industry and research organizations and federal, state and local government agencies.

USGBC also offers a host of educational opportunities, including workshops and Web-based seminars to educate the public and industry professionals on different elements of the green building industry, from the basics to more technical information. Through its partnership with the Green Building Certification Institute, USGBC offers industry professionals the chance to develop expertise in the field of green building and to receive accreditation as LEED Green Associates or LEED APs with specialty.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED began its development in 1994 spearheaded by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) senior scientist Robert K. Watson who, as founding chairman of the LEED Steering Committee until 2006, led a broad-based consensus process which included non-profit organizations, government agencies, architects, engineers, developers, builders, product manufacturers and other industry leaders. Early LEED committee members also included USGBC co-founder Mike Italiano, architects Bill Reed and Sandy Mendler, builder Gerard Heiber and engineer Richard Bourne. As interest in LEED grew, in 1996, engineers Tom Paladino and Lynn Barker co-chaired the newly formed LEED technical committee.

From 1994 to 2006, LEED grew from one standard for new construction to a comprehensive system of six interrelated standards covering all aspects of the development and construction process. LEED also has grown from six volunteers on one committee to more than 200 volunteers on nearly 20 committees and nearly 200 professional staff.

USGBC established benchmarks for the LEED Green Building Rating System in 2000. LEED is a framework for assessing building performance and meeting sustainability goals. LEED rating systems are currently available for new construction, existing buildings, commercial interiors, core and shell, schools, retail and homes, and rating systems are in pilot or under development for neighborhood developments and health care. Certification is generally voluntary, but required or under consideration as a requirement for certain buildings in many U.S. localities.

Recently, USGBC updated their online reference guides to help promote eco-friendly building practices worldwide. This included an interactive web tool to explain the LEED Green Building Rating System and a web application equating the rating system with a nutrition label. This redesign was carried out by Unison Agency.

See also

  • Energy portal
  • Canada Green Building Council
  • Green Building Certification Institute
  • Green building in the United States
  • LEED Accredited Professional Exam
  • Sustainable architecture
  • Romania Green Building Council
  • UK Green Building Council

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